Revamping Descriptions

“I’ve been reorganizing duties as I’ve begun bringing employees back to work. How do I let my employees know what’s now expected of them?”

Your HR Survival Tip

It seems any major financial crisis, such as a recession or pandemic, results in companies finding new and better ways to be more efficient and more profitable with fewer employees. The changes initially made are based on immediate necessity but then you realize what you’ve done can actually work well going forward. Major changes require a different approach but the following works well for tweaking workloads.

You’ll start with an initial conversation with the employee to inform them you have made changes based on business needs changing, reorganizing the workflow, reorganizing the work to better match skills…whichever reason fits your scenario. Then provide the employee with those changes via memo or updated job description.

We prefer a revised job description because it has many purposes and, in this situation, provides a better overall description of what the job now entails rather than just listing the changes. Ideally, you provide a job description to candidates when hiring, use it to keep employees focused on their responsibilities, and have it play a  [click to read more …]

Careful v. Practical

“I don’t know how to handle all the possible exposures I’m hearing about from employees. Nothing seems to work for both the employee and my company.”

Your HR Survival Tip

Not surprisingly, companies are receiving more and more reports of employees who may have been exposed. We don’t know of any single solution that will work for everyone but we can tell you what some companies are doing.

It’s important to remember that without COVID symptoms, there is no financial help for the employee from the government. The employee must have symptoms AND be talking with a doctor or getting tested to qualify for the Families First money (emergency paid sick leave for 2 weeks).

There are three primary exposure solutions we’re hearing about but each has a negative:

Super Safe — You have an employee who was “possibly exposed” go into self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Give some thought about how many of your employees may be potentially exposed at any one time and that those employees won’t be paid during the quarantine period since they don’t have symptoms. The negative is the employee is unpaid for two weeks and you’re low on headcount that could affect your  [click to read more …]

Pandemic Safety Protocol

Several clients have asked us what a safety protocol should include. We have provided below a very basic plan designed for offices but this is not one of those situations where one plan can work for everyone. You should take these concepts and expand on them based on your work environment for offices or field job sites.

ABC Company Safety Protocol

In order to create a safe working environment for you and for our customers, we have implemented the following protocols:

Before Leaving for Work

You must self-check to confirm you do not have any symptoms.If you do have symptoms, do not go into work but call your supervisor immediately.

Upon Arrival at Work

You must have your temperature taken (and show it is below 100 degrees).You must sign off that you do not have any of the symptoms listed on the sign-off sheet.(Symptoms include cough, headache, the recent loss of taste or smell, fever or chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.)

While at Work

You must wear a face mask/covering over your mouth and nose whenever:You leave your office or work station  [click to read more …]

Managing Unemployment Forms

“My business was closed for over 2 months due to the state stay-at-home orders. In the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with various unemployment claims and notices but the deadlines for responding have passed. What do I do with them?”

Your HR Survival Tip

You only had to hear the news of all the layoffs caused by the pandemic to know EDD (California’s Employment Development Department) was swamped with unemployment claims. They are slowly catching up but we’ve seen a lot of forms arriving in June but with March and April dates. So now it’s your turn to be swamped.

The way we like to handle them is to first sort them by employee so you can see if there are multiple documents or a progression in the documents for that employee. The most common are:

Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed — This is the first form you receive. It shows you an employee has filed a claim. The form includes the employee’s name and social security number, the effective date of the claim, the last day of work, and the reason the employee gave them for not working. If the information is correct, you  [click to read more …]

Mid-Year Updates

Once upon a time, all the legal changes in California became effective on January 1st. But that was then. The past several years have shown us changes can go into effect at any time so we have to be more diligent if we want to be compliant.

This July 1st, 2020, is the effective date for the following changes:

Paid Family Leave (PFL) — This is currently 100% paid by employee taxes but it is not an actual leave. Employees may receive supplemental pay from the state if you have approved a leave and the employee has an eligible reason. The most common use of PFL is for baby bonding. Since PFL began, the maximum time has been 6 weeks but that has now been expanded to 8 weeks. New Local Minimum Wage — The City of Santa Rosa has set a minimum wage of $14-15 per hour, depending on the size of the company. This will become $15 per hour for all employees in January. Increased Minimum Wages — The following localities have a mid-year increase in their minimum wage: Alameda: $15.00/hour Berkeley: $16.07/hourEmeryville: $16.84/hourFremont: $15.00/hour if 26+ employees; $13.50/hour if 25 or fewer employeesLos Angeles City: $15.00/hour  [click to read more …]

Job Killers

As if you aren’t dealing with enough while trying to get your business back to some version of normal, it feels like the California legislature has been working against us lately. The CA Chamber of Commerce has provided its annual list of “job killer” bills. A bill gets this designation when the Chamber feels it threatens the state’s economic recovery and may hurt your ability to rehire or maintain employment of workers. The bills below have not yet been passed so there’s still hope.

Please make use of your personal protective equipment (i.e., your chair) before reading:

AB196, AB664, and SB893 Presumption of injury — AB196 will increase workers’ compensation costs by presuming it’s a workplace injury if your “essential worker” contracts COVID-19. AB663 adds to that by requiring public employers and public/private hospitals to provide additional compensation for things like temporary housing costs based on the employee being exposed or contracting a communicable disease, including COVID-19. SB893 focuses on public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases are caused by the workplace. This will also establish a precedent for expanding this presumption into the private sector.

AB1107 Massive unemployment and tax increases — This will raise employers’ payroll  [click to read more …]

Forgetting the Laws

There are several laws companies tend to forget when you’re busy. Right now, it’s even easier to ignore some of the employment laws if you’re in survival mode. However, while you may believe you’ll get a free pass because of the pandemic… think again.

California has allowed very few exceptions to the normal employment laws and you will be held accountable for non-compliance if problems from those “forgotten laws” should pop up during a future audit. Here are a few things we’ve noticed:

Meal and rest breaks — Yes, even those employees working at home must still follow the usual timing for meal and rest breaks and those meal breaks need to show up on timecards.Scheduling — Employees often like to create their own schedules when working at home. However, this can create payroll issues due to split work shifts (more than 1 hour between their morning and afternoon shifts) or overtime pay because they were in a flow and didn’t want to stop working that day. Maintain your regular work hours even with remote workers.Classification issue #1 — If you have exempt, salaried employees who now have too few employees reporting to them (the equivalent of  [click to read more …]

Using Families First Money

“I have an employee who has been out for a week and I want to pay her with the Families First money I’ve heard about. How do I do it?”

Your HR Survival Tip

The Families First money is only available when the employee is personally and directly affected by COVID-19. Employees may be eligible for either the emergency Paid Sick Leave (ePSL) and/or the emergency FMLA (eFMLA). We will only cover the ePSL in this article.

As the employer, you must first certify your employee meets one of the allowed qualifications and you have the documentation required by the IRS so you can be reimbursed for paying the employee. Please keep in mind that shelter-in-place orders by the government are not considered to be a personal order of quarantine and do not qualify for this money.

When someone informs you they are being personally affected by COVID:

Obtain the certification required, then review it to make sure they qualify. They either need to provide the required documentation to back up their claim or, if unable to obtain a doctor’s note, write a statement about why they can’t work. The doctor’s note works for the statement as long as  [click to read more …]

New Bills Proposed

Everyone is focused on the effects of COVID-19 and we thought it was time to give you something else to think about. Life, and California legislators, keep finding ways to challenge business owners. Proposed bills affecting employers this legislative session include:

AB3216 – Currently companies with 50+ employees are subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which is very much like the federal FMLA with a few exceptions. It provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off with job protection. This bill proposes two things: (1) to change CFRA so companies with 1+ employees are subject to this Act and (2) allow the 12 weeks to be used for diagnosed COVID-19 quarantine for the employee or close family. Bringing CFRA down to such small companies could be devastating unless it’s only for COVID-19 related situations…but it’s not clear.AB2999 – This bill wants employers to provide 10 days of unpaid bereavement leave for employees who have worked at least 60 days prior to the leave. The employee could only use this leave for specific family members and would need to provide written proof of the death. Whether a company provides 1 day or 10, it usually never seems  [click to read more …]

New Offering from HR Jungle

While there is an overload of COVID-19 information out there, no one is telling you exactly how to make the employment changes needed, what those changes mean to you and your employees, and how to do it properly. This packet does that. 

HR Options for COVID-19

We have received a lot of calls from many of you with questions about what you can do and what effect it will have on employees… and your business. We wanted to provide a packet of information and documents that could help you with all of this, while saving you money!

You’ll have continuous access to this packet, which includes:

A detailed Summary of Employer Options regarding COVID-19;Ready to use memos and other communication tools;The forms you need to implement any employee changes;And we’ll be updating information frequently.

Yes, we are charging for this but only $14.95 plus tax. We are still happy to help you in any way we can!